Posted By P & L Blog

 

By Alessia Leathers for The News Press 

 

Colors can be a serious business, not only for artists but also for companies.

Nike recently released an ad promoting “Black and Tan” sneakers, not realizing that while these colors allude to a certain mixture of beers in the U.S. and England, such as half dark and half pale ale, it brings negative connotations for Irish people.

Indeed, this combination reminds them of unfortunate episodes in their efforts to become independent during the first part of the 20th century.

As Bryan Boyd of The Irish Times explained in a recent interview aired by NPR, “the Black and Tans were a ruthless auxiliary force of the British army responsible for wide-scale massacres.” Without delay, Nike publicly apologized stating that no offense was intended.

The incident, though, has already sparked an old discussion about colors. The online version of Merriam-Webster dictionary, for instance, has released a section dedicated exclusively to explaining the origin of unusual hues, such as vermilion (vivid reddish orange), titian (brownish orange), puce (dark red) and Cattleya (medium purple).

Nike’s campaign reminded me of the controversy still going on in my country, Peru, over the beige colored crayon wrongly named “flesh color” (color carne).

Even though Crayola explains in its Web site that the company voluntarily changed the name “flesh” to “peach” in 1962 as a result of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, the word “flesh” is still widely used in many Spanish speaking countries.

Read the complete story here.

 


 
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